As Sydney blew a massive gale last week, I was hunkered down at Mascot airport, waiting for my flight to be cleared for takeoff to San Francisco. Let’s just say i got to know Sydney Airport rather well – and after thirty hours I finally got to SF for what turned out to be a whirlwind visit. I’d been invited by a new client, a 30 year-old venture capitalist with a passion for young startups and a predilection for my kind of architecture. He’s a great guy, someone I know rather well so getting into the swing things was a non-issue. We spent the weekend hanging out at his new digs, getting a real sense of what is still a functioning service garage but will soon enough be a brick and mortar incubator for young talent. And San Francsico, as always, didn’t fail to excite!. The cliché has it that it’s a lot like Sydney, and for its harbour location that’s true. But there’s a genteel grittiness to this West Coast city that I find truly endearing. It palpitates with its Haight-Ashbury hippie past, its 1970s gay activism, the eeriness of its iconic Twin Peaks. But at the same time it is alive with the nervous energy of the nerds, the kids who gather at places like The Battery and spend hours pitching each other – and any entrepreneur who’ll listen – new ideas. The space we’ll be reconfiguring, and where I stayed in SoMa (South of Market street) is a turn-of-the-century red brick block of a building on a street that also houses an art gallery, a commune, an S&M warehouse and a dance academy. Ever niche you can imagine, it’s there, in a state of happy cooexistence. I guess it feels like Surry Hills, 25 years ago. Gee, but it’s great to be back home. At least until I leave for Venice for the Biennale – tomorrow.